March 25, 2016
For Immediate Release
March 25, 2016
Contact: Doug Gibson
The Vermont State Employees’ Association (VSEA) has filed a formal motion with the Vermont Labor Relations Board (VLRB) to dismiss the Shumlin Administration’s contract “last-best-offer” to thousands of VSEA’s Non-Management, Corrections and Supervisory Unit members.
VSEA’s motion “is based on the fact that the State’s submission includes a new proposal to carve the State Police Lieutenants out of the 1% and 1.25% across-the-board increases to be paid to every other employee in all of the three VSEA units, and to pay the Lieutenants only a .5% increase per year. This new proposal introduces a substantial new dispute that would have been highly controversial even standing on its own, but that also has the potential, if it were accepted, of fundamentally changing how wage negotiations are conducted in all three units.
“It’s almost as if the State did not study its own bargaining history with VSEA, because, if they had, they would have learned that VSEA successfully challenged a similar last-minute contract proposal alteration by the State in 1996 and won,” explains VSEA President Dave Bellini. “We’re very concerned that this newly introduced proposal to pay VSEA’s State Police Lieutenants a different, lesser, wage could open the door to multi-tiered wage and benefit packages. Not to mention, these are State Police Lieutenants, and the Administration’s proposal to give them a smaller raise is just wrong. It’s a slap in the face.”
From the motion:
“The [State’s] proposal thus amounts to an effort to reduce the pay of Lieutenants relative to other employees by slowing the rate of increase in their compensation relative to other unit members. If this is the State’s objective, it should have brought that proposal to the table and supported it with facts in fact-finding. Such a proposal would have been firmly rejected by VSEA members in all Units as an unacceptable attack on a small group of members, and as a dangerous precedent that threatens every unit member. The State should not be allowed to circumvent the bargaining process and slip this poison pill into its Last Best Offer.”
“This is an important fight because if this kind of last-minute tinkering goes unchallenged, it could lead to some very dangerous precedent,” adds Bellini. “We hope the Labor Board will agree.”
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